PalaeoEnvironmental Research and Consultancy Services (PERCS)
PERCS provides bespoke palaeoenvironmental and geoarchaeological support to the commercial and academic sectors. Focussing on the application of micropalaeontology to historic, prehistoric and geological archives, PERCS undertakes environmental and associated landscape reconstructions through the study of microfossils preserved within sedimentary deposits, namely diatom and pollen analyses. This is most often relevant to the archaeological sector, whereby landscape reconstructions complement (and indeed often help direct) the on-site and off-site investigations being undertaken. PERCS provides its clients with tailored support with regards the application of micropalaeontology to ground investigations. Every project and hence associated needs are different.
With twenty years of experience within academic and commercial geoarchaeology
PERCS not only has an extensive knowledge of applied micropalaeontology, but also a grounded understanding of client needs associated with delivering high quality reports, on time and on budget. Indeed, engagement with PERCS will no doubt potentially save you money. Engaging with a specialist in advance of excavation and/or subsampling will likely assist in helping target the most suitable deposits for consideration, thereby avoiding those most likely to be unsuitable for palaeoenvironmental reconstructions. As a result, such an approach will help limit post-excavation costs in the long term.
On site and/or remote guidance with regards the development of palaeoenvironmental sampling strategies. Supplementary guidance with regards the application of other useful analytical techniques to support the aims and objectives of the investigation, (e.g. plant macrofossils, beetles, mollusca, foraminifera/ostracods etc) and dating (radiocarbon/OSL etc).
An initial 'assessment of potential' allows the client to appreciate whether microfossils are preserved in abundance and diversity. Such preliminary findings can be used to direct further mitigation and sample collection.
If preservation is found to be good, ‘full analysis’ of pollen and/or diatoms can be commissioned, to maximise the palaeoenvironmental and associated geoarchaeological potential of the sequence, and position the reconstruction into its relevant spatial and temporal context.
Diatoms are unicellular siliceous algae that live in most aquatic environments (lakes, rivers, estuaries). They have distinct frustule morphologies that are often species specific, which assists in identification. When combined with the fact that many diatoms have restricted environmental niches in which they thrive, their study can provide a window into past landscapes.
Pollen can provide a wealth of information relating to the landscapes that have prevailed in the past. As natural vegetation and/or land use changes over time, the pollen preserved in sediments reflects such changes. When put into an archaeological context, it is possible to reconstruct the impact of human activities at a site, whether that be through deforestation, agriculture and associated landscape modification.